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Blog: Icy weather forcing closures of roads, services

Here's a look at road closures and services closed by icy conditions.

AUSTIN, Texas β€” Editor's note: This live blog is no longer updating. For road closures and service closures, check out KVUE's Feb. 16 live blog.

A wintry weather forecast has created icy road conditions in the Austin area. 

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) began to pretreat bridges and overpasses on major Austin roads on Wednesday in preparation for the expected icy conditions. Even so, dozens of crashes were reported throughout the area since Thursday morning.

Because the surface temperatures are so cold, officials are warning about a thin layer of ice that has formed on many roads due to the drizzly weather. This means that all roads, not just overpasses and bridges, are potentially dangerous.

Drivers are being urged to stay home. But if you must drive, you can check for real-time roadway conditions in your area on DriveTexas.org.

Here's a look at what road and City service closures have been reported in Central Texas:

Tuesday

4 a.m. – Austin ISD Police said its main dispatch number was operational again. 

12 a.m. – City of Austin asks residents to stay off the roadways unless absolutely necessary, do not call 911 to report outages and continue to conserve as much energy as possible.

Monday

9:40 p.m. – The Austin Fire Department answered or dispatched more than 1,900 911 calls for service across Austin and Travis County from midnight on Sunday through 4:30 p.m. on Monday. Those included 10 collisions/rescues, three wire callouts, 50 public assistance callouts, 180 alarm activations, eight fires and 270 broken water pipes.

8:25 p.m. – All YMCA of Austin branches will be closed on Tuesday due to ongoing power outages and dangerous road conditions.

3:50 p.m. – All Ascension Medical Group Seton clinics are closed on Monday and Tuesday, but telemedicine visits are available. Ascension Medical Group Seton vaccine clinics are also closed through Wednesday.

Ascension Seton hospitals and Dell Children's Medical Center remain open and staffed as usual.

2:45 p.m. – Ice build-up reported at:

  • I-35 NB at Riverside Drive/Exit 233
  • 620 NB at Comanche Trail
  • I-35 Frontage NB at E 6th St.
  • TX 130 Toll NB at TX 45 Toll/Exit 428B
  • Fly over ramps closed due to ice on TX 45 Toll Both EB/WB at I-35
  • Ramps closed at Mopac NB at Highway 183/Research Boulevard
  • 360/Capital of Texas NB between Spicewood Springs Road and Arboretum Boulevard
  • Closure on 2222 WB between Jester Boulevard and 620  
  • Closure on TX 183A SB between San Gabriel Pkwy. and US 183 
  • Toll lanes closed due to icy conditions in #Austin on TX 71 WB between TX 130 Toll/TX 45 Toll and Spirit of Texas 
  • Toll lanes closed on US 183 SB between Hwy. 290 and Ben White Blvd./Hwy. 71 E 
  • Toll lanes closed on Mopac SB between Parmer Ln and Cesar Chavez St. 
  • I-35 SB at Slaughter Ln/Exit 226
  • I-35 Frontage Road NB at Kyle Parkway/Exit 215  
  • Hwy 123 SB at I-35/US 81/TX 82 Loop  

12:35 p.m. – Ice build-up reported at: 

  • Town Center on I-35 NB at McNeil Road
  • I-35 NB at Grand Ave Parkway

11:30 a.m. – Ice build-up reported at:

  • 620 NB at Comanche Trail  
  • I-35 SB at FM-1327/Exit 223 
  • US 183 SB at Lamar Boulevard
  • 290 EB between Hwy 183 (Ed Bluestein Boulevard) and Old Hwy 20 (toll lanes closed)

11:12 a.m. – The Lago Vista PD is warning of availability for individuals who choose to travel and may have an emergency crash.

11:08 a.m. β€“ City of Austin parking enforcement has suspended operations today, Monday 15. If you're in a paid parking spot, don't worry about moving your car. Stay indoors and off the roads.

10:11 a.m. – The Texas Division of Emergency Management urges residents to continue to shelter in place and avoid traveling in any manner. There are power outages going on across the state.

9:35 a.m. – There are currently about 18 exit closings throughout 11 miles of the MoPac Expressway.

9:20 a.m. – KVUE's Shane Hinton reports that numerous closures are popping up along 290. He says more closures have been occurring closer to the metro area as the morning has progressed.

8:32 a.m. – TxDOT Austin crews are working to clear the overnight snowfall, but the roads underneath are still frozen. Stay home and avoid driving unless absolutely necessary. 

7 a.m. – From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., US 183 right mainlane in both directions will be closed from Purple Sage to 51st, and US 183 in both directions the right mainlane will be closed from US 290 to Manor Road. 

6:45 a.m. – The Schulenburg Police Department shares intense video of a police officer rescue. Watch here.

"Last night at approximately 8:45pm, the Schulenburg Police Department responded to the Interstate 10 Frontage Road near Best Western and the Hitching Post at US HWY 77.

"As officers Tobey McFadden, Brent Gindler and Frank Parkinson were working the accident, Officer Parkinson was sitting in his patrol unit speaking to two individuals at his driver’s door.

"Another vehicle hit an icy spot on the overpass and began rolling down the embankment towards the frontage road.

"As the second vehicle was rolling towards Officer Parkinson's patrol unit, he pulled one person into his unit as the other one ran.

"We would like to commend Officer Parkinson for his situational awareness and quick thinking as he pulled the second person into his patrol unit.

"Everyone involved is okay.

"Use this video as a reminder to slow down and stay off of the roads unless it's absolutely necessary to travel."

6:30 a.m. – Icy conditions reported at: 

  • I-35 SB at Slaughter Lane/Exit 226
  • US 183 SB at Mcneil Drive/Spicewood Springs Road

5:45 a.m. - Closures due to icy conditions:

  • 360/Capital of Texas SB between Arboretum Boulevard and Spicewood Springs Road
  •  TX-71 EB between Spirit of Texas and TX 130 Toll/TX 45 Toll

4:50 a.m. – Ice build-up reported in San Marcos on Highway 123 SB at I-35/US-81/TX-82-Loop.

2:45 a.m. – Ice build-up reported on:

  • I-35 SB at FM-1327/Exit 223
  • US 183 SB at Mcneil Drive/Spicewood Springs Road
  • Mopac NB at 35th Street

2:20 a.m. – Ice build-up reported on:

  • FM 969 NB at Taylor Lane
  • I-35 NB at Riverside Drive/Exit 233

Fly over ramps closed due to ice onTX-45-TOLL Both EB/WB at I-35

1:15 a.m. – Ramps are closed due to icy conditions on MoPac northbound at US 183 and on TX 45 toll at I-35.

12:25 a.m. – The Austin EMS Association said while road conditions aren't great for local medics, they are still doing everything they can to bring life-saving services to those in the area on Sunday night.

Sunday

10 p.m. – Austin Mobility said to not report flashing traffic signals to 311 for the remainder of the winter weather event. Officials said the signals that enter flash mode during the storm will remain on flash until we can safely dispatch signal technicians to them.

9:50 p.m. – City of Pflugerville crews have stopped sanding roadways for the night due to deteriorating conditions.

9:12 p.m. – The AFD said – as of 9 p.m. – it had responded to 116 car collisions since 12 a.m. AFD said it had not responded to a car collision since 7:38 p.m.

8:35 p.m. – Austin-Travis County EMS said it has received nine weather-related "environmental exposure" calls on Sunday. Medics have responded to 38 traffic injuries, seven of which were from rollovers, and 46 ice-related falls, ranging from minor injuries to broken bones and head injuries.

7:10 p.m. – All Baylor Scott & White clinics in the Austin/Round Rock area will be 100% virtual on Monday. Austin/Round Rock drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites will be closed. Hospitals will remain open.

In-person appointments will be rescheduled or converted to virtual visits where appropriate, Baylor Scott & White said.

6:30 p.m. – City of Georgetown facilities will be closed to the public Monday, Feb. 15, in response to winter weather.

The closures include:

  • Airport Terminal, 500 Terminal Drive
  • Animal Shelter, 110 W.L. Walden Drive
  • City Hall, 808 Martin Luther King Jr. St.
  • Garey Park, 6450 RM 2243
  • Georgetown Municipal Complex, 300 Industrial Ave.
  • Municipal Court, 510 W. Ninth St.
  • Parks and Recreation Administration, 1101 N. College St.
  • Planning Department, 809 Martin Luther King, Jr. St.
  • Public Library, 402 W. Eighth St.
  • Public Safety Operations and Training Center, Police Records and Fire Support Services, 3500 D.B. Wood Road
  • Recreation Center, 1003 N. Austin Ave.
  • Tennis Center, 400 Serenada Drive
  • Transfer Station, 250 W.L. Walden Drive
  • Village Pool, 370 Village Commons Blvd.
  • Visitors Center, 103 W. Seventh St.

City street crews will continue to treat roads and bridges. 

5:04 p.m. – Capital Metro announced the following commuter updates: 

  • Sunday, Feb. 14: all Capital Metro services will be suspended at 8 p.m.
  • Monday, Feb. 15 and Tuesday, Feb. 16: Capital Metro will operate with adjusted service hours from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. All fare collection has been suspended through end of service Tuesday.
  • Additionally, Capital Metro will not operate the following services, which includes:
    • No MetroRail service
    • No Rail Connector service (Routes 465 and 466)
    • No MetroExpress service (Routes 935, 982, 985, and 990)
    • No Flyer route service (Routes 103, 105, 111, 135, 142 and 171)
    • No Round Rock service (Routes 50, 51, 150 and 152)
    • No Lago Visa Feeder (Route 214)
    • No Pickup service
    • No UT Shuttle Service
      • Resumption of this service is dependent on the campus reopening for students.

4:56 p.m. – Due to icy road conditions, ATCEMS said it was having difficulty responding to calls. Seventeen out of its 38 at the time of the announcement were for falls. ATCEMS advised people to stay off of icy areas. 

4:42 p.m. – H-E-B reduced its hours for Sunday, Feb. 14 and Monday, Feb. 15 by two more hours. Austin and Central Texas area stores will now close a 5 p.m. on Sunday (previously was 7 p.m.) and will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday. Central Market stores will have the same hours.

4:27 p.m. – TxDOT CEO James Bass said the Austin toll roads open (as of 4 p.m. Sunday and are subject to change) were the following: 

  • State Highway 130
  • State Highway 45N
  • Loop 1 (MoPac) – north of Parmer Lane
  • State Highway 45SE

Bass also advised drivers to stay home if at all possible.

4:20 p.m. – The Central Texas Food Bank announced it had canceled its food distributions for Monday, Feb. 15 due to severe weather and hazardous road conditions. The food bank also said it would be closed on Monday. 

4:03 p.m. – Austin Resource Recovery (ARR) services continue to be suspended and will resume as weather permits, possibly into the middle of this week. Affected curbside services include recycling, composting, trash, yard trimmings, bulk item, large brush, street sweeping and dead animal collections.

Customers are asked to leave any uncollected carts, yard trimmings, bulk items and large brush at the curb to allow our crews to catch up. If possible, customers should set their carts or other material out as usual, but be aware that service has been delayed. Weather permitting, ARR will catch up over the week and into next weekend.

3:44 p.m. - Southbound lanes of US 281 in Blanco County are being shut down from Johnson City to Comal County.

3:35 p.m. - The Hays County Sheriff's Office said it has received reports of stranded motorists who cannot be reached by local authorities. 

"Every effort is being made to reach the motorists but, in some cases, it may be impossible due to the ice on the roadway," the sheriff's office said.

If you mush drive and become stranded, officials will be asking:

  • What is your vehicle description? 
  • How many occupants are with you? 
  • How much gas does your vehicle have? 
  • Do you have access to a cell phone charger?

"They will dispatch first responders to you but there is no guarantee that they can reach you," the sheriff's office said. "If you choose to abandon your vehicle, try to get it off the roadway as best as possible and remove all your personal belongings. Call dispatch back to let them know that you are leaving your vehicle. Do not ask dispatch whether you should abandon your vehicle. The decision must be made by you."

3:32 p.m. - Traffic injury reported at 2027 West Ben White Boulevard service road eastbound.

3:05 p.m. - Accident reported on I-35 northbound at William Cannon Drive/Exit 228/229.

3:02 p.m. - Traffic injury reported at Southwest Parkway and Vega Avenue.

3 p.m. - Accident reported on Montopolis Drive near East Oltorf Street.

2:50 p.m. - Accident reported at Johnny Morris Road near Old Manor Road.

Ice build-up reported at MoPac northbound at 35th Street.

2:46 p.m. - The Leander Police Department reports that its crews are now unable to continue sanding efforts due to worsened roadways.

"This means that roads are NOT safe to drive on and it may be difficult for us to get to you if there is a collision," the LPS said. "Please stay home and stay safe."

2:32 p.m. - Traffic injury reported at North Lamar Boulevard and West North Loop Boulevard.

2:30 p.m. - Travis County Fire Rescue reports a traffic incident with a semi near Pearce Lane.

2:30 p.m. - The Cedar Park Police Department issues a plea for people to stay home due to road conditions.

2:27 p.m. - A shutdown is reported on FM 1431 between Jonestown and Lago Vista due to multiple cars stuck on the hills.

2:25 p.m. - The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority announces that it will be closing all of its facilities until further notice. The following roads will be closed until they can be treated effectively:

  • 183A Toll lanes from south of San Gabriel Parkway to RM 620
  • 290E Toll lanes from US 183 to east of Parmer Lane, including the direct connectors
  • 183S Toll lanes from US 290 to SH 71, including the direct connectors
  • 71E Toll lanes from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport to SH 130
  • 45SW Toll lanes from FM 1626 to LP 1 (MoPac)
  • MoPac Express Toll Lanes from Lady Bird Lake to Parmer Lane

The Mobility Authority will be placing traffic cones and barriers at roadway entrances, directing drivers to the access roads. The adjacent frontage roads to 183A, 290E, 71E and 183S will remain open as conditions allow. The general purpose lanes adjacent to the Mopac Express Lanes will also remain open. 45SW traffic will need to find alternate routes using FM 1626 to Menchaca Road, or IH-35.

2:25 p.m. - Ice build-up reported on I-35 southbound at FM 1327/Exit 223.

Accident reported on Decker Lane near Daffan Lane.

2:13 p.m. - ATCEMS reports that it is responding to a drastic increase in calls for service related to the weather. 

"This is an unprecedented weather event for our area, and due to the dramatic increase in calls for service, ATCEMS has made several operational changes, to preserve the safety of our patients, and our medics," said ATCEMS Chief of Staff Jasper Brown. "We need the public to do their part, by staying home, off the roads, and staying indoors during this event."

Here's an overview of operational changes for ATCEMS:

  • All patients will be transported to the closest hospital to the incident address.
  • Ambulances will avoid driving on elevated roadways.
  • Four ATCEMS 4x4 vehicles have been activated, as well as fire department 4x4s, to access patients on 911 calls where the ambulance cannot get to the patient.
  • Disabled vehicles that have been abandoned are being marked with yellow caution tape on the driver’s side mirror. If you come across a disabled vehicle, please DO NOT call 911 if it is marked with yellow caution tape.
  • 3 extra ambulances have been or will be staffed (One during the day and 2 demand trucks being extended overnight), and will continue until the end of this event.

So far today, ATCEMS has responded to the following weather-related incidents:

  • 3 environmental exposures
  • 31 Traffic collisions with injuries requiring EMS treatment or transport, 6 of which were rollovers
  • 18 ice-related falls. 

If you are involved in an ice-related collision, medics ask you to remain in your vehicle until responders arrive and provide you with instructions. Traffic will likely be approaching and may be affected by the conditions too.

2:02 p.m. - The AFD reports a traffic injury on the 600 block of East Parsons Street.

1:50 p.m. - Accident reported in Del Valle on FM 812 near Doyle Road.

Accident reported on Elroy Road at TX 45 Toll/TX 130 Toll.

1:32 p.m. - The AFD reports a vehicle rescue on the 12000 block of Bee Cave Road. A traffic injury was also reported on the 1500 block of Coronado Hills.

1:30 p.m. - Accident reported on South First Street at West St. Elmo Road.

12:55 p.m. - From 10 p.m. yesterday to 10 a.m. today, the AFD responded to 140 calls for service:

  • 51 were collisions
  • 2 were wires down/arcing
  • 3 were structure fires
  • 6 were public assist calls (vehicles that slid off the road, not a traffic accident)

12:42 p.m. - ATCEMS reports that many roadways remain impassable and medics will only be transporting patients to the closest hospitals.

12:40 p.m. - Icy conditions reported at:

  • TX 130 Toll northbound at TX 45 Toll/Exit 428B
  • Flyover ramps closed at TX 45 Toll, both eastbound and westbound, at I-35
  • Ramps closed at MoPac northbound at 183

12:25 p.m. - A crash was reported at MoPac southbound between Cesar Chavez Street and Stratford Drive.

12:08 p.m. - MoPac is closed at Lake Austin Boulevard due to a multi-vehicle crash. Detour to side streets and consider alternatives.

11:47 a.m. - Lakeline Boulevard from Osage to Crystal Falls Parkway is closed. The 183 Toll is also closed, Leander police report.

11:43 a.m. - Cedar Park police is working with Central Texas Mobility Authority to close down its section of the 183A Toll in both directions due to dangerous conditions.

11:22 a.m. - A vehicle rollover was reported on the 8400-8700 block of Johnny Morris Road.

11:20 a.m. - An accident at I-35 southbound and US 290/Exit 238 has been cleared.

10:56 a.m. - A disabled vehicle was reported at I-35 near Exit 223.

10:47 a.m. - Round Rock police report that the entrance ramps from Louis Henna Boulevard to SH 45 are closed. The flyovers connecting I-35 and SH 45 are being treated for ice and should be avoided.

10:43 a.m. - Lakeway police crews are working to close Serene Hills Drive between Highway 71 and The Hills Drive.

10:27 a.m. - Emergency vehicles report difficulty responding to incidents due to icy roads.

8:34 a.m. - Bastrop County OEM reports dangerous conditions on SH 71 at the Colorado River bridge from a previous accident that knocked down a section of the bridge barrier.

8:30 a.m. - Accident reported on I-35 southbound at TX 45.

5:42 a.m. - 183 proper from the intersection with the toll road to San Gabriel Parkway is closed due to ice.

12:32 a.m. - The AFD reports a traffic injury at I-35 northbound and E. Slaughter Lane.

Tips on how to drive in wintry weather

TxDOT said drivers should follow these guidelines to keep themselves and others safe:

  • Use caution when driving over bridges and overpasses, as these are the first to freeze.
  • Reduce your speed. A vehicle needs at least three times more space to stop on a slick roadway. Don't apply the brakes suddenly, and avoid using cruise control.
  • Slow down when approaching emergency or maintenance vehicles, especially when their flashing lights are on. The law requires you to maintain a distance of at least 200 feet when approaching crews. Don't pass on the right, and remember visibility can also be reduced during winter weather conditions.
  • Be patient. Keep to the main roads and avoid taking shortcuts through territory that may not have been treated.
  • Winterize vehicles before traveling during adverse weather. Check fuel, tire, oil and antifreeze levels. Make sure the heater, brakes and windshield wipers are working properly.
  • Check area weather conditions on radio or television before starting a trip.

WATCH: Tips for driving safely in winter weather

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